Dream Corps

Our Programs: Transportation and Climate Initiative

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Dream Corps

Our Programs: Transportation and Climate Initiative

Green For All Partners

Green For All is part of a broad coalition of organizations working to develop a clean, equitable and modern transportation system in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

Our goal is to make big polluters pay for their pollution and invest in clean transportation solutions in low-income communities and communities of color most impacted by climate change. We’re working with community partners across the region to ensure regional policy is responsive to community need.

What is the Transportation and Climate Initiative?

The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is a regional collaboration of 11 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that seeks to:

  • Improve transportation
  • Develop the clean energy economy
  • Reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector

The participating states are:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Washington DC
  • North Carolina
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia

These states are supported by the Georgetown Climate Center, who coordinates the regional collaboration.

What’s Green For All’s Role in TCI?

Green For All works to advance solutions that bring clean energy, clean transportation, green jobs, and opportunities to communities who have faced the greatest disinvestment and pollution burden in the country.

We have spent over a decade ensuring carbon pricing mechanisms lead to equitable solutions for these communities.

Green For All is working with partners across the region to ensure that the policy being developed by the Transportation and Climate Initiative and implemented by participating states benefits those who need it the most.

Environmental justice leaders and agency officials from California and the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic discuss their efforts to adopt policies that improve air quality for disproportionately impacted communities. Panelists describe what policies communities have advocated for to advance robust air quality monitoring and reduce localized emissions in their areas and that should be adopted as complementary policies as part of the Transportation and Climate Initiative and as standalone legislation.

What’s at Stake

  • Tailpipe pollution is deadly. Every year, more people die prematurely from traffic pollution-related health impacts than traffic accidents.
  • Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to traffic pollution and are overburdened with higher rates of asthma, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. A recent study found that people of color are exposed to 66% more tailpipe pollution than white communities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. 
  • Low-income families spend a higher proportion of their income on transportation costs – up to 30% – and are often driving older less efficient vehicles. Meanwhile, communities of color have longer than average commute times and are more likely to rely on public transportation.
  • The cost of pollution is not free. Polluters need to be held accountable and pay for the damage their pollution causes.
  • With the money generated from polluters, we can invest in the most overburdened and under-resourced communities, and diminish the gap between eco-haves and eco-have-nots.

The Latest

On December 21, 2020, CT, DC, MA, and RI released the final TCI Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and became the first TCI states to commit to adopting a “cap and invest” program called the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P).

The agreement includes some key equity measures that Green For All has been advocating for:

  • Dedicate at least 35% of funds toward disproportionately impacted communities
  • Create advisory boards made up of a majority of members who represent these communities
  • Monitor air quality to help ensure improvements for pollution burdened communities.

Our Past Actions

  • In December 2018, states announced they would develop a regional “cap-and-invest” program, which would set a strict limit on transportation emissions. Polluters would need to purchase emissions allowances and the money raised could fund clean transportation solutions. Green For All has been involved ever since, to ensure that states design the program to be responsive to community needs.
  • On February 13th, 2019, Green For All convened 32 representatives from environmental, transit, labor, and social justice, and civil rights organizations in Philadelphia for a Northeast Transportation Equity Convening. 
  • On July 26th, 2019, eight racial, economic, environmental, and transit justice organizations submitted Policy Design Principles for an Equitable Clean Transportation Program. Read the letter here
  • On December 11th, 2019, Green for All released a toolkit for state officials, advocates, and community partners that provides detailed policy recommendations and resources for developing a regional cap-and-invest policy. It provides guidance for how to design a regional program that is responsive to the needs of low-income families, disproportionately pollution-impacted neighborhoods, and transit-underserved communities. Read the full toolkit here.
  • On March 20, 2020, Green For All helped draft and submit a letter with over 40 other organizations in response to the draft MOU released December 2019. This letter addressed the need for dedicated investments, representative community advisory committees, and strong complementary policies. Read the letter here.
  • On October 23, 2020, Green For All submitted a comment letter in response to the proposed equity commitments announced at the TCI Webinar on Ensuring Environmental Justice and Equity in a Regional Low-Carbon Transportation Program. It details the need for at least 50% dedicated investments located in and directly benefiting disproportionately affected communities, complementary policies that will lead to direct emission reductions in overburdened communities, workforce development measures, and independently selected, representative equity advisory bodies that receive ample support for capacity building and decision-making power. Read the letter here.
  • On April 6, 2021, eleven racial justice, transit justice, social justice, labor, and environmental organizations submitted Equity Advisory Body Principles in response to the draft TCI-P model rule released March 1, 2021 to increase the accessibility, capacity, agency, and effectiveness of these bodies in shaping TCI-P. Read the principles here.
  • On April 13, 2021, Green For All submitted a comment letter in response to the draft TCI-P model rule and “Update on Public Engagement Planning” documents. It highlights the need for more detailed language to strengthen dedicated investments and the equity advisory bodies, ensure worker protections, and commit to expanded air quality monitoring and localized pollution reduction. Read the letter here.

Effective Carbon Pricing

An effective carbon pricing program that delivers equitable results must:
  • Engage & be responsive to the needs of impacted communities throughout the policy design and implementation process.
  • Set a strong cap/price that holds polluters accountable for the true cost of pollution.
  • Dedicate funds targeted directly at overburdened and underserved communities to offset new cost burdens resulting from the carbon price AND to create net positive environmental and economic benefits for these communities.
  • Ensure direct emissions reductions in communities hit first and worst by transportation emissions, including through complementary policies.
  • Make sure that jobs created are good jobs that lift people and families out of poverty, and tie project investments to fair labor, workforce, and supplier diversity standards.

Resources

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